قُلْ لَا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ
Qul lā amliku linafsin dharran walā naf‘an illā māshāa-llāh
Say: I do not control for myself any harm, or any benefit except what Allah pleases
(Sūrat Yunus, No.10, Āyat 49)
Human beings often see themselves as in charge of most of the things they do in life. As believers we acknowledge that there is a Creator and Lord of the universe. But we often forget that the ability to benefit or harm comes only from Allah. It does not come from our own capabilities, nor does it come from the actions of others. Allah says in the Quran; Whatever Allah grants to mankind of mercy, there is none to withhold it, and what He withholds there is none to send it forth after that, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Q 35:2)
In the verse above, Almighty Allah tells His Messenger to declare that he possesses no control over what benefits or harms him, except that part of the control which Allah wishes to give him. So when we are able to control some part of the gain or loss for ourselves, it is only because Allah has chosen to give that much to us. If He had wished, He would not have given it to us. And if He wishes, He can take it away from us. This understanding is part of the true essence of Tawhīd. It is the Tawhīd Af‘alī, or the Tawhīd in actions; the belief that all actions take place by the Will of God. He is the cause of all things, seen and unseen. No action or event exists on its own, independent of the will of Allah.
The sincere acceptance of the control of Allah over everything helps the believer in many ways:
1) It strengthens the true spirit of monotheism. No-one else is a partner in this control.
2) It creates a close connection with God. Dependence means turning constantly to Him and asking Him for help in all affairs.
3) It brings relief through elimination of dependence on creatures, who can be fickle in their reliability.
4) It humbles the human being and prevents arrogant self-sufficiency.
Together the above factors will make us a submitting servant of Allah, i.e. a true Muslim.
Recite this verse often to enhance your recognition of Allah as the Primary cause of all effects. It will strengthen your complete dependence on Him, and allow you to hold on to a firm handle that never breaks (Q 2:256).
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.),Tafsīre Namune